Healing Through Remembering (HTR) has had support from groups and individuals in a number of countries for its Day of Reflection today (21 June).
It is the fifth year of the Day organised by HTR, the cross-community organisation that focuses on ways of dealing with the past relating to the conflict in and about Northern Ireland, with the aim of ensuring a peaceful future for all.
HTR director Kate Turner said: ““It is a day to acknowledge the deep hurt and pain caused by the conflict… to reflect on our own attitudes, on what more we might have done or might still do, and to make a personal commitment that such loss should never be allowed to happen again.
“The Day of Reflection has gathered momentum since we launched it in 2007 and it is now an established annual event. This time we have received several messages of support from countries throughout the world.
“As well as reflecting on the Northern Ireland conflict, people from Zimbabwe, the Balkans and the Middle East who now live here also use the Day to reflect on troubled times in their homelands.”
The Day will be launched in the Linen Hall Library in the centre of Belfast by the Rev Harold Good, chair of HTR’s Day of Reflection sub-group. Activities in a library room will be open to the public and will include songs, and prose and poetry readings, and visitors will be able to post messages on a special Thought Wall. There will also be activities at several other centres, including Oakgrove Integrated College in Derry/Londonderry; the WAVE Trauma Centre in Omagh; the Royal Ulster Constabulary George Cross Garden at police headquarters in east Belfast; the IOSAS Centre and Peace Garden at Muff in Donegal; and Trinity College, Dublin.
The Rev Harold Good said: “Independent evaluations have shown support across the community for the Day of Reflection from organisations including community groups, churches and businesses, and a wide range of individual people.
“It is vital that we always remember the men, women and children who, on a daily basis, live with the consequences of the conflict It is the responsibility of every person in society to find a way forward and create a better future for generations to come. The Day is a society-wide initiative, but some people may want to reflect on their own, while others may decide to do so within a family, a group or an organisation. Groups can be involved by raising awareness among their members, by making a place available where reflection can take place and/or by facilitating reflection.”
WHY 21 JUNE?
Research to find a suitable date on which to hold a Day of Reflection revealed that there is no day in the calendar year that is not the anniversary of the death of at least one person who died as a direct result of the conflict in and about Northern Ireland.
21 June, the longest day of the year, was chosen as it is a symbolically important day because of the ebbing relationship between the hours of dark and light – a symbol of the pain and hope in our society.
It is a day that is forward-looking and backward-looking at the same time. It represents a pause in the cycle of nature, a moment to reflect. Furthermore, the day’s significance is related to a naturally occurring event, and nature itself makes no distinction of race, creed or political perspective.